Founded in 2011, DigitalOcean offers a wide range of services and is quite a respectable name today. Even big names like Gitlab seem to be a fan of the company. Moreover, it has been authenticated by some reputable sites as well, including Netcraft, which called it one of the fastest-growing cloud hosting services. The company stood third in terms of size by 2014 and has only grown since then.
This American company is known to help developers work faster. It’s the brainchild of Mitch Wainer, Ben Uretsky, Alec Hartman, Moisey Uretsky, and Jeff Carr. They got together to start a small startup in NYC, which is now being used by over half a million users.
Headquartered in NYC, DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider with data centers spread all around the world. It offers a mix of cloud services to help developers scale and deploy apps on multiple computers. It’s the third largest hosting provider in the world and also made it to Deloitte Technology Fast 500 List in 2018.
Screenshot provided from webarchive.org for the 2013 year
Moisey and Ben Uretsky found it in 2011 after realizing the need since most companies were concentrating on enterprises and not on individual developers. The beta product was out in the first quarter of 2012, and the company found its first major success in 2013 when it became one of the few companies to offer SSD-based options.
The website currently hosts over half a million domains, most belonging to .com. It, however, offers a bunch of other TLDs as well including .info, .org, .biz, and country-specific TLDs like .us.
It is important to keep an eye on performance when selecting a web host. It should offer good speed and uptime as these two factors can be crucial and affect SEO rankings as well.
We ran the Pingdom test to judge the quality of the site that was created using WordPress and had dummy content on it including graphics. The test results were excellent:
The page took less than one second to load, which is quite impressive. You should keep this point in mind since most users will leave a website if it takes 2 seconds or longer to load.
We did not use caching or speed optimization trick and found the results to be quite good. However, as you see, the page size is quite small here, and the speed may be a little slower if you have hefty pages.
We ran the UptimeRobot monitoring on the same site to judge the quality and were once again quite impressed with the outcome.
As you can see, the website has been up for 7378 hours, which equals to about 307 days. The speed is also pretty reliable and didn’t hit the 1-second mark even once. We can rest assured the service is quick and stable.
|Load Time Stats
It is essential to know how everything on your site loads and how it works in different countries; after all the internet is all about being global.
DigitalOcean scored A+ on our list. It has servers all around the world. Hence the speed is quick in almost all corners. It’s the fastest in the US, followed by Australia. It’s also pretty quick in Europe, equalling 25 ms in London. It’s the slowest in Sao Paulo and Bangalore region, but that’s not too bad. All in all, it is a great option if you expect a good amount of international traffic.
DigitalOcean is designed for not only individual developers, but for big and small enterprises as well. The company offers a mix of packages and has different hosting levels to cater to the growing needs of consumers.
Users can select from a variety of hosting packages depending on their volume and storage needs. Most can be billed hourly or monthly.
The company has given the name of ‘Droplets’ to its virtual machines. You may choose from CPU Optimized Droplets or Standard Droplets. The former is more suitable for users who want a beefy machine that can perform intensive jobs, while the latter is more suitable for users who want to perform regular tasks.
Do not let this new terminology scare you. It’s nothing complicated. Just a name for a machine. Moreover, it’s quite easy to manage and handle. Users can order or delete machines depending on their needs.
You can select from a variety of OS including Ubuntu, Linux, CoreOS, Fedora, FreeBSD, GPL, and Debian. All the OS come pre-built, and you can get started right away. In fact, it only takes 55 seconds to get access to a new Droplet.
Standard Droplets are suitable for scaling and hosting web applications, blogs, staging/testing environments, databases, and in-memory caching. The cheapest package starts for $5/month ($0.007/hour) and comes with 1GB RAM / 1 CPU, 25GB SSD Disk and 1000GB of transfer. You can choose from a variety of packages, and they all offer hourly and monthly rates.
On the other hand, CPU Optimized Droplets come with dedicated hyper-threads and are more suitable for CPU intensive apps like ad serving, machine learning, batch processing, and video encoding. The cheapest plan costs $40/month or $0.060/hour. You can choose from a variety of packages, and they all offer hourly and monthly rates.
|1 GB / 1 CPU
|$5 / mo
|2 GB / 1 CPU
|$10 / mo
|2 GB / 2 CPU
|$15 / mo
|4 GB / 2 CPU
|$20 / mo
|8 GB / 4 CPU
|$40 / mo
|16 GB / 6 CPU
|$80 / mo
|4 GB / 2 CPU
|$40 / mo
|2 GB / 1 CPU
|$10 / mo
|16 GB / 8 CPU
|$160 / mo
|32 GB / 16 CPU
|$320 / mo
|64 GB / 32 CPU
|$640 / mo
If you’re a developer, then there’s good news for you. You can use the service to create new Droplets in only 55 seconds. Each Droplet will offer you root access and some other cool features including: Ability to choose OS, DNS management, Simple control panel, Cloud firewalls, Automated backups, Pre-built app images, Private networking, Global image transfer, SSDs.
Important: The company offers a wide number of cloud hosting options but doesn’t cover shared, dedicated, or managed hosting.
DigitalOcean control panel is fairly easy to use. Here’s how to create your own Droplet.
1. Log in to the control panel, go to Dashboard and press “Create” green button, then select the first option Droplets (create cloud servers).
2. Choose your required configurations on the next page (Create Droplet). The configurations come with default options.
3. You may choose to customize your Droplet. The process is quite simple. Choose an image and pick your desired OS with pre-installed apps, if needed.
4. Choose the required storage and RAM.
5. You can also choose to add block storage if you need additional storage volumes to attack to your Droplets.
6. Moreover, consider backups if you’d like the system to create a disk image of your Droplet once a week so you can use it in case of a crash or other such problem. The backup remains stored for about a month (four weeks).
7. Pick a datacenter region keeping in mind your customers. It should be closest to where you find the largest chunk of your audience.
8. Select additional options like private networking, IPv6, user data and monitoring.
9. Add SSH keys for your security.
10. Finalize and create.
It does not matter how good a company is; most people will stay away from it if it is too expensive. Fortunately, DigitalOcean is among the more affordable options, especially since you can choose between hourly packages and monthly packages.
All standard packages include DNS management, 24/7 support, pre-defined and free firewalls, complete monitoring, and a number of pre-build open source apps.
Let’s get to know the plans in detail.
You can get Standard Droplet 1vCPU package for as low as $5 per month or $0.007/hour. It comes with 1TB of transfer and 25GB of SSD.
You can start for as low as $5, per month. Signing up for long-term may be a good option but the company doesn’t offer discounts, and the cheapest 36-month contract will cost you $180. The most expensive option is 32 vCPUs and costs $960/month or $1.429/hour. It comes with 12TB of transfer and 840 GB of SSD.
|Plan & Package
|1 Month Term
|12 Month Term
|24 Month Term
|36 Month Term
This is one of the few companies with no renewal policies. You only pay for actual usage. Plus, all packages come with monthly caps to ensure you never go out of your budget, no matter how many Droplets you create.
Let’s have a look at some of the main features DigitalOcean has to offer. These will help you determine how good or bad this option is for you.
All the packages come with free email accounts; however, none of the packages currently offer free domain names. You will have to buy one from a registrar and transfer it to DigitalOcean as it offers DNS hosting service but not registration.
You can select from two storage options:
Block Storage: You can choose between 1 GB to 16 GB and even combine different blogs into one, rescale them, and move them from one Droplet to another. You can add additional storage for $0.10/GB per month.
Object Storage: Object storage is suitable to host unstructured data, such as videos. It is different from block storage as the data has no proper format. Also known as Spaces, it lets you access the stored data through HTTP. The minimum space is 250GB with a minimum bandwidth of 1TB.
You can save more time by installing apps with just a single click. These include: MySQL, Node.js, WordPress, Ghost, Docker, MongoDB, LAMP stack, Machine Learning, etc.
While the company does not offer paid or free migration service, you can get in touch with the customer support for some help on how to perform the task.
Unlike Droplets, Spaces are made to store simple objects. It’s a system that lets you deliver stored data to end users and apps. They are scalable and easy to create. Plus, they operate under a clear manner and come with a drag-and-drop API.
Kubernetes is a newly-launched service that only takes a few minutes to get started. This managed service offers automatic scaling, application portability, among other benefits.
Security is a huge concern when it comes to data in the cloud. DigitalOcean’s seems to understand this and offers a bunch of security features.
Since the company does not provide Domain Privacy Protection, your only option is to purchase a domain from a third-party vendor and add it using the special domain console that makes the process easy. The company can help you with the process.
While the company does not offer SSL certificates, users have the option to install it via the console for free. This is very important because some browsers will not load your site without a valid SSL certificate and even Google may penalty your site if it lacks an SSL certificate.
It also lets you buy standard certificates from other sites, like GoDaddy where it is available for $5.99/year.
The company offers a free dedicated IP with each Droplet. Moreover, the company also provides “Floating IPs” with each Droplet so that the app continues to run even if a Droplet fails. The system will quickly assign the IP to a standby Droplet, thus preventing downtime.
Backups are not a concern with DigitalOcean as the company offers snapshots and backups that let you restore, duplicate, or save Droplets. Snapshots and backups are stored separately. While snapshots are manually created by the user, backups are stored automatically by the system.
Users can enable automatic backups that are stored on the server but cannot be downloaded. However, remember that the company makes it clear that it is the customer’s duty to keep data secure and not the company’s so you may consider backup data.
Snapshot storage is charged based on space. The company offers automated backups at 20% of what the Droplet costs you.
ssh yourusername@youripaddress, your command will look like:
ssh [email protected]
sudo apt install yum,
sudo yum install zip
sudo zip -r /var/www/html/files-backup.zip /var/www/html/
sudo rm files-backup.zip
Your information is safe and secure as only the engineering team members can access stores backups and snapshots. Staff members do not have access to these files.
The company understands the importance of keeping servers safe. Not only are data centers protected by security staff, but the company also use different tools, such as two-factor authorization and biometric testing, to keep intruders away. Moreover, DigitalOcean also meets international and national security standards.
The company lets you keep an eye on different factors by setting up alerts for when a CPU exceeds the threshold, etc. You can choose to receive these alerts via email or Slack. Other than this, keeping an eye on factors such as network usage, memory usage, and disk usage is also easy with real-time monitoring.
You can also whitelist IPs and specify different addresses, even by tags. This is important since the firewall will automatically block access if there are no whitelists.
You can apply firewall rules to one or multiple Droplets. They’re all centralized making it easy to access information.
The company currently has 8 data centers around the world. They’re strategically placed in Singapore, India, The Netherlands, Germany, Canada, the US, and the UK.
DigitalOcean is very customer-friendly and makes it a breeze to get started. In fact, you can only click on buttons or icons to have your website up and running.
The process only takes a few minutes. Head to the official site, choose the package and click on Get Started or Sign Up. The company will ask for your name, email address, and password and you’re in. You may also use your Gmail ID to sign up.
You may have an individual account or a team account, which can be a good option if you work with multiple people. You may, later on, have to submit details including your location and the reason to use DigitalOcean.
The company offers a variety of payment methods including PayPal and cards (Discover, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). Sadly, debit cards, money orders, or checks are no more accepted. You can, however, use your debit card to send payment via PayPal. Payment is handled through Stripe and is safe and secure.
Note: The company offers one promo code per account that can help you save money. Consider using it, too.
The website offers a very simple control panel. It does not have many options as the company does not offer other types of hosting options, but it’s enough to get you going.
You can choose to buy and install cPanel. Since the website is designed for developers, you will not find a lot of options here unless you purchase them – cPanel is one such option. However, a lack of cPanel will not be much of an issue since you will not need a lot of options it offers. However, consider getting it if you do not enjoy the Unix platform.
Nonetheless, it is quite easy to install the cPanel, despite it not being available in the one-click options.
The interface is quite well-designed and easy to use. It’s simple, hence attractive. You will have no difficulty in monitoring or deploying Droplets or apps.
The company has data centers around the world including Singapore, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and New York. Only a few data centers presently offer IPv6 with plans to extend support to other centers as well.
The company counts on its own specialized technology that is built to provide a simple experience to its users. Cloud servers are created using KVM Virtualization. You can also use the company’s API to create your own.
Customer support is of huge importance when you work with a hosting provider. Even a simple problem can halt the process.
This option is presently not available, which may be quite troublesome for users who are in the habit of getting their problems solved there and then.
The only way to get in touch with the team is to open a ticket. You can mark your tickets urgent if it is important. Tickets typically get answered within 12 hours, but urgent tickets may be attended sooner. You will receive an email notification whenever there is an update on your open tickets.
The company presently does not offer phone support.
Since DigitalOcean is made for developers; the company expects users not to face a lot of problems. For some basic issues, they can consult guides that are very well detailed and introduce policies but also procedures with the help of images and illustrations.
Other than this, there’s also a huge community to interact with others and get answers to your questions. The community is properly moderated by the team that also often takes part in discussions.
The company does not offer refunds; however, it may offer some in a few rare cases. Your only option is to open a support ticket.
Other than this, DigitalOcean does promise credit refunds for downtime exceeding the promised 99.99% uptime. If you’re just starting out, your best option is to start with the cheapest option and check out the system before you go all in.
Since the service is mainly designed for developers, it’s the best for developers, new and old. However, it is not very beginner friendly, and it may take you a while before you get started.
The platform may not be suitable for users who want a lot of hand-holding. If you know what you want and can handle the technicalities, then it can be an excellent option for you.
Based on our review, DigitalOcean can be a good choice if you are serious about having a secure VPS hosting platform that also offers excellent uptime. DigitalOcean offers what it promises, and that’s a reliable virtual private server that is suitable for developers. It may, however, not be the best option if you’re looking for traditional hosting platforms.
We hope this detailed review helps you come to an informed decision. What do you think about it? Do you have any experience with DigitalOcean? Let us know!